VOX SUPER FOUNDATION BASS AMPLIFIERS

Jennings Musical Industries: 1967-1968

Super Foundation Bass: the flagship of the solid state bass range: 100W, two channels - normal and bass. The normal channel has mid-range boost and variable distortion (switched on by a footswitch), and the bass channel Tone-X, a sweep tone control.

The analogue in the solid state guitar range was the , which shared the same power section, though had a different preamp.

The Super Foundation Bass first came on the market with the rest of the solid state range in April 1967. Amps were assembled at the in Erith. Following the end of Jennings Musical Industries (JMI) in early 1968, a successor company sprang up to continue production: Vox Sound Equipment Ltd. This ran from 1968 to late 1969, being succeeded in turn by Vox Sound Ltd, 1970-1973. Production of guitar and bass amps had come to a halt in 1972, however. VSL evidently had much trouble in its final months selling its stock. Post-JMI amps can be seen , and .

The accompanying speaker cabinet was at first was a tall ported 1 x 18". Later on 2 x 18" cabs were produced, some rechristened as the "Super Twin Foundation Bass".

for Super Foundation Bass cabs

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In the JMI pricelist of April 1967, the Super Foundation Bass is £204 and 15 shillings. In modern money, that is roughly equivalent to £3,400 according to the Bank of England inflation calculator.

General characteristics of early Super Foundation Basses are much as early Supremes:

  • The numbering sequence began at 1001.
  • Serial numbers are normally given in the form SB..xxxx, though the very earliest may simply have been of four numbers.
  • "SB" indicates "Super Twin Bass", indicating that amplifier and speaker cab sections were separate.
  • Back panels are cloth covered and have chamfered edges.
  • Control panels are generally deep black in the very earliest amps (serial no. 1033). A batch of brown/bronze (or ones that have turned brown/bronze) follows; then black again (by serial no. 1090).
  • Fixings for the preamp are present on top of the wooden cases in the early amps.
  • Jack input sockets are metal and of open construction. Surrounds are white. These give way later to black plastic sockets.
  • Logos simply state "VOX" at first, later "VOX Solid State".
  • Lettering is in silver.
  • Preamp sections are stamped PREAMP B. SER. No. xxxx. Power amp sections: P10A SER. No. xxxx. As in the case of all Burndept-made amps, these are not sequential from amp to amp. The chassis were stacked randomly and gathered up for assembly in batches.

For date codes of components and some notes on assembly, see and .

The earliest known pictures of a Super Foundation Bass come from the Stones' European tour, March-April 1967. Bill Wyman's cab was a 2 x 15, NOT a standard SFB, as pictured in the brochure above. Amp was on the stage floor, cab on its side. For further details of the tour, see this page.

Below, a growing register of surviving amps. If anyone knows of any early Super Foundation Basses that have not yet been included, .

Serial number 1033 - currently in the UK

A nice early Super Foundation Bass amp on top of a standard 2 x 15" cab. Control panel is black. Thanks to Paul for the pictures.

Control panels brown from this point

Serial number 1034 - currently in Croatia

A good early Super Foundation Bass in full working order. Bought new by Croatian TV, and looked after by the current owner's father, who acquired it when the company no longer had any need for it. Brown control panel (unlike no. 1033 above). Thanks to Ivan for the pictures.

Serial number unknown - currently in Sweden

An early amp - perhaps very early. Note the brown control panel. The back plate apparently has no conventional serial number, but is stamped ST-100 (ST = Super Twin, the normal nomenclature for Supremes rather than the bass amps). Voltage selector removed in Scandinavian (to conform with legal requirements for electrical goods). Pictures originally .

Serial number 1046 - currently in the USA

A brown panel SFB amp with a second generation JMI cab - note the "VOX Solid State" in the logo. It seems unlikely that cab and amp left the factory together (even if one can never be absolutely categorical): the cab accompanying serial no. 1095 (below) certainly still has the early form of logo, simply "VOX". But the two may have been matched up early on (post 60s). The amp is in full working order, having been repaired by Thomas Kissinger of Ernie's Guitar Repair in Minotola, NJ, U.S.A. Serial no. 1046 now belongs to Pete Best's band in Nova Scotia. Warmest thanks to Adam for pics and info.

Note that the cab is wider than the amp. Later on the cab was narrowed slightly to match the amp.

Serial number unknown - currently in the USA

Only a single pic. Brown/bronze control panel, as the amps above and below. Normal early characteristics: white rings to jack sockets, preamp fixings on top of the cabinet.

Serial number unknown - currently in the UK

A fine sight - an early Super Foundation Bass with two bass cabs. Note that the control panel is brown/bronze.

The same amp in a slightly different incarnation - DIN plug socket restored. The pattern of scuffs on the leading edge and the indicator lamps show it to be the same amp however.

And sold again in the UK in October 2011.

Serial number unknown - currently in the UK

Brown control panel. Preamp chassis no. 1447. Din plug replaced with a jack socket. Further images to follow.

Serial number unknown - currently in Italy

Control panels black from this point

Serial number 1090 - currently in the UK

Preamp no. 1512. Power amp no. 1259. Used as a gigging amp in the 1980s and 1990s. Still in good working order.

PREAMP: Yellow Lemco capacitors have the date codes "XL", "YB" and "YC" = Nov. 1966, Feb. 1967 and March 1967.

POWER AMP: Red CCL filter caps: "L6" and "B7" = Dec. 1966 and Feb. 1967. Yellow CCL bias caps: "G7" = August 1967.

In view of the date codes on the yellow bias caps, Super Foundation Bass no. 1090 is likely to have been produced around September 1967.

Serial number 1095 - currently in the USA

A single speaker (1 x 18") cabinet. The shadow of the rectangular port is just visible at the bottom of the cab.

Serial number unknown - currently in the UK

Accompanied by a 2 x 18" speaker cabinet which evidently has two circular ports in its baffle. Note that amp and cab are the same width.

"SOLID STATE" now in the logo

Serial number 1182 - currently in Germany

Recovered in red. The amp's serial number is on the cab, and vice versa. The speaker has probably been reconed. Note that Goodmans units with these labels are also to be found in Vox Sound Equipment Ltd. cabs, which in common with this one, generally have a second hole for a jack plug "out" which was covered over by the tolex, the idea being that one could reveal it, fit another jack, and wire it up in such a way that two cabs could be daisy-chained together.

Serial number unknown - currently in the UK

A late JMI amp - black plastic jack plugs. Good all round condition.

Serial number unknown - currently in the UK

"AMPLIFIER" rather than "VOX AMPLIFIER" on the serial plate

Serial number 1229 - currently in Italy

Serial no. 1229, a great amp, with a Vox Sound Ltd. "Super Twin Foundation Bass" 2x18" cab and stand. The footswitch is from an American Super Beatle amp. The corners of the amp's backboard are still angled. Cab and stand probably belong with serial no. 2535, .

Serial number 1281 (or 1282?) reported

On to the next Super Foundation Bass page.